BANNERS - Empires on Fire
Empires on Fire
BANNERS smashed onto the scene in 2015 with "Start a Riot" and an ensuing self titled EP helped propel him even further forward. However a year late times have changed and the anthemic indie rock that BANNERS is known for has somewhat waned in popularity. Bands like Bastille seemed to dominate the radio a year and a half ago and BANNERS slipped perfectly into that mold and being a solo artist had even more upward potential. Not all of that is lost on this new EP Empires on Fire, but it does feel like this album is 16 months too late. The jubilation and bop feel's just out of touch with what is going on in the world. To much of the past couple of years is the world seeing behind the curtain and the evilness that lies therein. It makes singing an anthem at the top of your lungs feel a bit more hollow. This album feels like it's closing out a sunset set at Coachella, but only hits that one note throughout. All the boxes are ticked for a sing-a-long romp but the emotions feel like they are surface level at best. "Into the Storm" predictably has the lyrics "I will follow you into the storm" and much of the record follows suit. It's exactly what you'd expect and hence nothing you really want. I found myself bobing along and getting into some of the tracks, but then you quickly realize someone has already made this song, and probably made it better so what new dynamic is BANNERS bring to the table? That unfortunately is yet to be seen.
This EP is also really heavy on the mood setting. Deep bass lines and constant percussive pressure put the album in this somewhat dark space, but it feels so surface level like just underneath everything is perfectly fine. There are just zero stakes on the whole album, nothing feels risky or bold, just some songs BANNERS was sure would work. IN the end even this short EP ends up sounding like noise, eventually falling to somewhere in the distant background. There is something in BANNERS' music though, especially his voice, that does compel you to give it another shot. The kid is young and this is only his second EP, there is still plenty of room for growth. Let's just hope He doesn't get trapped by this anthemic vibe and never changes, it's a pitfall many bands have fallen into in the past.
6.0 out of 10